A Month with iPad Pro

In other words, selecting an iPad Pro feels an awful lot like it did when I selected a PowerBook G4 back in 2004, you knew this was the future, but you also knew there were going to just be some things which you could not do on the device. I hedged back then, as I guess I am now, by having a desktop PC I built out — as I have the MacBook now.

Back in 2004 there were simply some banking websites which were not compatible on the Mac. Full stop, no matter what you did, they wouldn’t work. There were inconsistency in some files which would drive my professors nuts. Though, I did have an easier time connecting to the campus WiFi network.

And now, just over a decade later, I am staring at this iPad Pro and thinking to myself: this is the same jump I made back in 2004. Yes, there will be somethings which won’t work, but I jumped because I knew that I had found the future of computing and I didn’t want to stay on the old crap I had before. It’s the same, but I admit it may be difficult for many to see this right now.

Ben Brooks - Full Time iPad Pro

I've had the iPad Pro for just over a month now, and this has been my exact experience. There are definitely things that can't be done on it yet. This is especially true with tools required by my heavily Windows based school system. Even in 2015, my Mac has trouble with a lot of thise. But even Squarespace, a much more modern tool, has very limited capabilities on iOS which make it very difficult to manage this website. However the things I can do are so fantastic I make it work. This is not an uncommon thing to read. There are a lot of reviews and commentary on iPad Pro, but without many specifics about what is actually better on an iPad aside from consumption.

I've been circling around an understanding of why I like working on an iPad more than a Mac the whole month I've had my iPad Pro, and think I have finally worked it out. First, on the Mac, one of the primary ways people increase their productivity is through keyboard shortcuts. Being able to keep your hands on a keyboard to move around an app or the operating system rather than moving back and forth between a mouse or trackpad and the keyboard speeds up the work that many do. My problem is that I'm not good at remembering shortcuts. Yes I get the basic command-space for spotlight or command-v/c for copy and paste. But outside of that, it's difficult for me to remember. Especially from app to app.

On iPad, with the whole device as my keyboard/interface, I am able to keep my hands in one place, manipulate what is in front of me more than I can with a mouse, and still be very efficient at it. And if app developers work hard to not just scale up an iPhone app or port a Mac app to iPad, but actually keep this in mind as they design their user interface, then my work becomes more intuitive for me than on a Mac.

A great example is OmniOutliner. I've written about how I use OmniOutliner before, and its iPad app is my favorite way to outline. On the Mac, I can never remember the shortcut for indenting, but on iPad, the buttons are right above the keyboard making for a much more natural way of writing.

 
OmniOutliner on iPad Pro

OmniOutliner on iPad Pro

 

Aside from keyboard shortcuts, I have also found many utilities on iOS that, to my knowledge, are not available on OS X or I'm not familiar with how to use them. Drafts always comes to mind as an amazingly useful iOS app not available on Mac. Automating text has become essential to me in everything from student formative assessments to managing tasks. And Blink helps me quickly generate affiliate links for this site, which while it can be done a Mac, the Mac apps for this don't have the robust features and ease of use Blink does.

Is it possible to dig deeper into a Mac and customize it? Yes. But on iPad, I don't have to spend as much time fiddling, and can spend more time working. That isn't to say I don't spend time dreaming up Workflows, but that's also just fun for me. All in all, iOS, especially on a device as powerful as iPad Pro, is the ideal OS for me. I'm excited for the future of the platform, the hardware, and my productivity.